Helping Hands of Block Island
As we enjoy amazing sunrises and sunsets with the colors of an artist’s palette, we know the summer is here. We try to take time to enjoy the wonderful beaches, hike the majestic cliffs of Clayhead, or bike and run up and down — then up again — the hilly terrain. We even enjoy the fog, the white blanket that seems to envelop the town, as the lights shine through at night like a beacon. Stormy days are particulary interesting, as we catch up on our reading, pay bills, or try to use the internet.
Now that is a phrase that sticks with you, “Pay bills.” How do the permanent residents of this island “pay bills” when the summer season ends and jobs come to a halt? After all, this is a seasonal economy, some may say, without thinking of the ramifications.
Some permanent residents have continuous work, or retirement funds to sustain them through the winter months. Most others work two and sometimes three jobs and long hours so that they can survive through the long winter months, when the wind is howling. It becomes more difficult for some to keep it together. Most families are paying to heat their homes, along with the cost of electricity, gasoline, etc. Some parents will continue to feed their children first, and neglect themselves when necessary, making poor choices for themselves.
Helping Hands of Block Island was started seven years ago, working out of a small closet for a handful of recipients. Today, it is quite different, the number of recipients has grown to 60 to 80, including 20 to 25 children. Selections of canned fruits, vegetables, milk, and fresh eggs are provided. Fresh produce is distributed when possible. Snacks for school children, and basic needs for personal care are provided. When food is distributed every other Wednesday, there are always piles of clothing donated to fill that need.
As always, this is not a job done by a few, but a job done by all who donate, and by sharing what we have with those who have not.
Donations are gratefully accepted and can be mailed to Helping Hands of Block Island, P.O. Box 232, Block Island, RI 02807. In addition, canned goods are accepted at all the local churches. Look for the Helping Hands basket.
On behalf of Elisa Hundt, President; Mimi Levielle, Vice President; Theresa Sisto, Treasurer; Joanne Warfel, Secretary.